House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was 2022.

Topics

Order Paper

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I wish to inform the House that, in accordance with the representation made by the government, pursuant to Standing Order 55(1), I have caused to be published a special Order Paper giving notice of two government bills.

I therefore lay the relevant document upon the table.

Statement Concerning the Similarities Between Bill C-250 and Bill C-19—Speaker's Ruling

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I would like to provide a short update regarding a statement I made on May 11, 2022, concerning similarities between two bills that were before the House at that time. They were Bill C-250, an act to amend the Criminal Code (prohibition—promotion of antisemitism), standing in the name of the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood, and Bill C-19, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, and other measures.

As members will recall, clause 332 of Bill C-19 contained near identical text to Bill C-250. To be more specific, the two bills sought to amend section 319 of the Criminal Code pertaining to hate propaganda, for similar purposes. Both made it an offence to wilfully promote antisemitism by condoning, denying or downplaying the Holocaust through statements communicated other than in private conversation. There was only a minor difference in the wording of one of the acceptable defences.

As indicated in my earlier statement on this matter, there is a long-standing principle to keep or avoid having the same question from being decided twice within the same session. On May 11, 2022, the Chair had therefore ordered that, pending the fate of Bill C-19, Bill C-250 may not be called for its second hour of debate at second reading.

Bill C-19 received royal assent on June 23, 2022. Accordingly, I am ordering that the order for the second reading of Bill C-250 be discharged and that the bill be dropped from the Order Paper.

I thank all the members for their attention.

Permanent Residency for Temporary Foreign WorkersRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Sean Fraser LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a detailed plan from my colleague, the hon. member for Surrey Centre, namely Motion No. 44, concerning permanent residency for temporary foreign workers, under Private Members' Business.

This document includes plans to expand pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers and international students with significant Canadian work experience in sectors with persistent labour shortages.

Procurement and Distribution of COVID-19 Rapid TestsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the report on the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 rapid tests.

I would like to take a moment to welcome the new cohort of pages for 2022-23. The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer and I were also pages here in the House of Commons, many, many years ago. We have very fond memories of the happy moments, but also the responsibilities, that come with this position. We hope they have an excellent parliamentary year.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8)(a), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 87 petitions. These returns will be tabled in an electronic format.

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 1Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberalfor the Minister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Cost of Living Relief Act, No. 2 (Targeted Support for Households)Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalMinister of Health

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-31, An Act respecting cost of living relief measures related to dental care and rental housing.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Tragedy in SaskatchewanRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, like many members of this House, the people of James Smith Cree Nation have been on my mind since the horrific and heartbreaking acts of violence on September 4.

Early that morning, a community already living with the effects of intergenerational trauma faced an unthinkable situation. By the afternoon, the community was left reeling with the deaths of 10 loved ones and 18 others injured from acts of violence that were too terrible to contemplate. No one was left untouched. Each person lost a family member: a father or mother, an aunt or uncle, a brother or sister, or a friend. These are their names: Thomas Burns, Carol Burns, Gregory Burns, Lydia Gloria Burns, Bonnie Burns, Earl Burns, Lana Head, Christian Head, Robert Sanderson and Wesley Petterson.

As the community grieves an unfathomable loss, it has been moving to see the outpouring of compassion from across the country and indeed around the world. In this tight-knit place of only 1,900, everyone is connected and many people outside of James Smith Cree Nation are too. Friends, colleagues, family from other parts of the country or world have all been left to ask, “How could something like this happen?”

Last week, I went to the community to meet with members and listen to the stories of loved ones. I was honoured to attend the funeral of Lydia Gloria Burns, known as Gloria. It was clear that Gloria was a pillar of her community. Indeed, many considered her a dear friend, a person to turn to in times of trouble and a role model.

Gloria was the mother of two, a crisis worker and a pillar of support. She regularly counselled young people and she was clearly beloved. She was a first responder, and in performing her duty, something so dear to her heart, her life was taken. It is hard to imagine how a community navigates the loss of someone like Gloria. At her funeral, her brother remarked, “Resilience means walking through anger, walking through pain, walking through grief.”

The families of James Smith Cree Nation have long suffered from the trauma of colonization, including residential schools, and too often they have not had a reliable or fair partner in the federal government to improve things for the next generations. In meetings with the leaders of this community, we discussed the importance of forgiveness and healing and the equally important role of action to truly walk together. Chief Wally Burns said, “We all have to come together, as a community, as Canadians, as a whole.”

Right now, the community is gripped with burying their dead, helping their injured family members heal and recovering from the shock of this life-changing event. I have stressed that the federal government will be with them as a strong and reliable partner as they chart a path forward in their healing journey.

I go back to the idea of resilience. Of course, we all have to learn to weather the unpredictability of life, but nobody should have to be as resilient as the people of James Smith Cree Nation. We must do better together to help people heal and to see a future that works for everyone.

The children of Brian Burns, left behind without their mother and their brother, and the many other children in James Smith Cree Nation facing life without a parent, are depending on us. We owe it to those children and to all of the families suffering to make sense of these tragic losses and to ensure that they have the tools and supports they need to heal.

I will end on this. The people of James Smith Cree Nation are hurting, but they are also very proud. As they told me, they are “James Smith Cree Nation strong”. I stand with them, and I know that this entire House does as well.

Tragedy in SaskatchewanRoutine Proceedings

September 20th, 2022 / 10:15 a.m.

Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am here today to honour the victims of the recent violence in southern Saskatchewan and particularly the James Smith Cree Nation: 10 lives lost, 18 lives changed forever, a community shattered, and a province and country in shock. We are here to honour the victims by remembering them, supporting their community in their grief and committing ourselves to doing whatever is necessary to make sure this kind of outrage never happens again.

No death is solitary. Every death leaves a hole in the hearts of a family and a void in a community. This is especially true in rural and remote regions, where people rely on each other to survive and where so many people are related through blood and marriage. As Mark Arcand, whose sister was among the victims, put it, “This is how it is in our country.... It's all about relationships. It's all about family.”

The violence two weeks ago took the lives of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, neighbours, friends and familiar faces. Each one of them was known and loved.

Let us pause to honour them by offering our respect to each of them by name: Bonnie Goodvoice-Burns, aged 48, a mother, grandmother and foster mother who died trying to protect her son, Gregory “Jonesy” Burns, who was also killed; Lydia Gloria Burns, a first responder who was attacked while responding to a call to help Bonnie and Gregory Burns; Carol Burns, who was visiting her two children, one of whom, Thomas Burns, also died; Earl Burns Sr., a veteran who had already survived an attempted stabbing by the same perpetrator seven years earlier; Lana Head and her partner Christian Head, who together leave behind 10 children and more grandchildren; Robert Sanderson, a father whose son was also injured in the attack; and Wesley Petterson, a 78-year-old widower from nearby Weldon, Saskatchewan. There are 10 enormous holes in the James Smith Cree Nation and surrounding communities. As one headline put it, “everyone lost someone”.

Healing takes time. It is a journey. The families and friends left behind have a long journey ahead of them, but I have faith that strength will carry the James Smith Cree Nation through. It is the same strength that has helped that community survive and work through the immense trauma of history over many years. The reason I have faith and hope is that while evil is real and strong, faith, hope and love are stronger. Where we can help, we will.

I know the federal government is working with local community leaders. I note that the minister has been to visit and I thank her for that. I offer my party's full support for any government actions that bring healing to the community, especially for the children who have seen what no child should ever see, and for those struggling with mental illness or addiction problems, who will find these times especially trying.

We can honour the victims and survivors by providing more effective recovery services to more people to help them get out of the cycle of violence and toward hope and healing. That is the least that compassion and respect demand of us. However, we must not allow our compassion to tempt us into complacency and stop us from asking the hard questions about our criminal justice system.

This tragedy was not a random act of fate. It was the result of a string of failings stretching back more than a decade. The question that Chief Wally Burns asked when he learned about the perpetrator's criminal history should be ringing in the ears of everyone in the House: “Why was this guy released when he was dangerous?” I also agree with Brian Burns, whose wife and son were killed, when he said, ”There needs to be some kind of an inquiry. The families need answers.”

As a husband and a father, I can only imagine the sense of deep betrayal he must feel when he thinks about the callous negligence of our criminal justice system, which let this violent criminal out to recommit offences again and again, not just in this case, but for more than a decade. The perpetrator, who I am deliberately not naming, had been charged with over 120 crimes in 47 cases over the last 14 years. He had been convicted 59 times. There are likely more, but his youth record is sealed.

At least two of those previous victims were also victims of the most recent violence: his in-laws Earl Burns, who died, and Joyce Burns, who was wounded. The first time, back in 2015, he was charged with attempted murder, but he was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offence and was only sentenced to two years less a day in prison. It has also been reported that he assaulted the mother of his children five times between 2011 and 2018. He never received more than a two-month sentence for any of those assaults. Each time, he was set free to to attack again.

What happened in northern Saskatchewan two weeks ago should be a national wake-up call. The James Smith Cree Nation was not only the victim of a violent criminal, but also the victim of a broken criminal justice system. We all agree in the possibility of redemption and in rehabilitation. We believe that, if someone makes a mistake and does their time, they should have a second chance at being part of society, but when someone commits one violent offence after another so that they number in the dozens, at some point they must stay behind bars for the protection of the public and out of respect for their victims. A system that allows a violent criminal to reoffend over and over again with impunity does not deserve to be called a justice system. Leaving victims vulnerable to repeat attacks by a violent felon is not criminal justice. It is criminal negligence.

I agree with Brian Burns. I want to know how this could have happened, and most importantly, I want to know how we can make sure it never happens again. We will not honour the victims and the community if we do not listen to them. We must listen, and then we must act. There must be a top-to-bottom review. We need to know why criminal charges against this violent felon were so often stayed or withdrawn; why the parole boards repeatedly recommended his release despite deeming him a threat; why his sentences were so short, even after third and fourth violent convictions; and why Correctional Service Canada did not deem him sufficiently likely to reoffend, even after more than 50 convictions in 14 years, and failed to recommend against his statutory release.

A thorough review is important because the devastation experienced by this community was not an isolated incident. Since 2015, violent crime has increased in Canada by 32%. The violent crime severity index is up 18 points, and there were more than 124,000 violent crimes last year than there were in 2015. The violent crime rate is up in all 13 provinces and territories. Clearly, something is wrong and getting worse. We need to know what it is, and we need to fix it.

There are no words that can adequately capture the devastation that the James Smith Cree Nation has suffered and, indeed, the pain all Canadians felt at the stories of this unthinkable horror. The stories were of violence and an ongoing manhunt, but soon after the stories changed and we began to hear stories of the lives of the victims. These are the stories that had been previously filled with laughter, often amid personal struggle, and stories of a community bound together by bonds of love and support, now united by grief. They are the stories of people who are, in Mark Arcand's words, “broken but not defeated.”

Today we offer our respect to the departed and the survivors. In words that can only imperfectly convey sorrow, we offer our sympathy, but if we have only words, then we will have failed the James Smith Cree Nation again. It is time for these failures to end. It is time for our words to transform into actions, and it is time for all of us to rally in support of this wonderful community and its beautiful members as they heal and recover from these terrible events.

Tragedy in SaskatchewanRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a more sombre note, I would like, on behalf of all Bloc Québécois members, to offer my sincerest condolences to the victims of the horrific mass killings on the territory of the James Smith Cree Nation, in Weldon, in early September, as well as to their friends and family. Ten people were killed, 18 were wounded, and an entire community is now suffering and beginning a long healing process.

Our thoughts also go out to the members of the community, at a time when the words “truth” and “reconciliation” often elicit painful memories. I can find no better way to express all of the compassion and sympathy such a traumatizing event deserves.

However, words and good wishes are not enough. As members of Parliament, our duty is to see that events like this one never happen again.

On that, a number of questions have been raised about the tragedy in the past few weeks, and they deserve answers. I sincerely hope that the House will have the wisdom and determination to find these answers in a bipartisan manner, without ulterior motives, for the benefit of the indigenous communities and the people we represent.

A few hours after one of the two suspects was arrested, we learned that one was a repeat offender who had violated his parole conditions. According to an article in La Presse on September 7, last November, the suspect, whose name I will not mention, breached his parole conditions. In February the Parole Board of Canada, in its decision to maintain his release on parole, stated that the suspect did not represent “an undue risk to society”, after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

The person convicted of no fewer than 59 criminal charges, including assault, assault with a weapon, assaulting a police officer and theft, did not pose an undue risk to society, according to the Parole Board of Canada.

The suspect’s unsavoury record raises questions about his release on parole. Here is a question that is certainly worthwhile asking: After how many criminal charges does the Parole Board of Canada believe that a person poses a risk to society?

Please do not misunderstand me: I respect the Parole Board of Canada. This is the kind of institution that is essential for Canadians’ safety. Having discussed the issue with officers, I understand that the means available to them are not always the most effective. In fact, they are often far from effective.

This seems illogical in light of the societal impact of a decision to release an offender before the end of their sentence. In this case, it is difficult not to ask questions considering what appeared on the criminal record of one of the suspects.

One question it is normal to ask after such an event is whether the support and means needed to monitor inmates and their rehabilitation are available. I know that this is a lot of work for officers and that there can be elements that are hard to prove to convince the board that an offender could truly represent a risk to society, particularly at a time when officers are overloaded.

Perhaps the time has come for institutional reform. We could suggest that the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security investigate to determine whether adjustments are necessary.

We know that, in June, the Minister of Public Safety launched the federal framework to reduce recidivism. I would like to point that out. On the other hand, since this is the government's first step in the development of a plan to identify the determining factors that influence recidivism and the appropriate means of supporting successful social reintegration, given the recent events at the James Smith Cree Nation, the committee should look into the question, if only to make adjustments to the framework.

There is also the issue of mental health services for individuals known to police, such as the suspects in the tragedy.

That was one of the suggestions made by the Office of the Correctional Investigator, which, in its 48th report, recommended that Correctional Service Canada “develop a reliable method for administratively tracking individuals with mental health concerns”.

An appalling, horrifying and unspeakable event such as this one demands that we reflect on issues beyond the prison system. How can two individuals stab so many people in so little time in such cold blood?

Should we be looking at other administrations that have a better track record than the federal organizations concerned?

Ought we not look at Norway, which has the lowest recidivism rate in the world at 16%?

We could look at Quebec, which, according to a 2019 study by the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations, has programs aimed at facilitating the social reintegration of inmates of prisons under provincial management that not only reduce recidivism but do so in a way that is “far better” than elsewhere in the world.

With all due respect and sympathy to the victims, we need to raise awareness, offer suggestions and find solutions.

The government can obviously count on the Bloc Québécois to find common and well-documented solutions to ensure that Canadians can feel completely safe. I sincerely hope that this appeal for collaboration will be heard and accepted and that it will lead to honest and necessary discussions that will benefit everyone.

We could say that this was an isolated and very rare incident, ignore it and move on as though nothing had happened, and then turn away to not see the horror. However, I sincerely believe that we have a moral obligation to say to the people we represent, especially the community of James Smith, never again.

Tragedy in SaskatchewanRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, today, we recognize and mourn the loss of the victims in James Smith Cree Nation, the tragedy that occurred on September 4, 2022. My thoughts are with the many others wounded and with the community, which has been wounded by this event. The impacts of intergenerational trauma continue to be exposed through such acts of violence. My thoughts are with the community of James Smith Cree Nation, how strong they are and how strong they are being forced to be right now.

Healing is the path forward and that cannot be done without recognizing that the ongoing process of colonialism has shaped this tragedy. We need to make sure that this tragedy does not go unrecognized by the government. This shows that true reconciliation is still necessary for our communities to move forward.

We must begin the conversation to discuss the prevention of intergenerational trauma going forward. The impact of the tragedy is felt throughout Canada, and as a country, we mourn the loss of those who are no longer with us.

I would like to acknowledge the victims and families of the Saskatchewan stabbings who lost their lives: Thomas Burns, Carol Burns, Gregory Burns, Lydia Gloria Burns, Bonnie Burns, Earl Burns, Lana Head, Christian Head, Robert Sanderson and Wesley Petterson.

We, as a country, must ask for more to be done to support these individuals and their families. They are victims of crime, and this will have an ongoing impact on the families and friends within the community. We must recognize the impact of colonialism and its aftermath, which is related to the criminal justice system's impact on these communities. The New Democrats will fight to ensure that these families get the supports they deserve.

As parliamentarians, we must ensure that reconciliation is forged by investing in the well-being of indigenous peoples. We must be the parliamentarians who focus our efforts on recognizing the strengths that indigenous peoples must realize in themselves. We must be the parliamentarians who invest in reconciliation, to ensure that tragedies such as these, as what happened in James Smith Cree Nation, do not happen again.

We must ensure that we honour the memory of the victims and their families so that it never happens again. We must ensure that we do our best to talk about reconciliation in terms of justice, healing and making sure that we are the ones who will ensure real reconciliation with indigenous peoples, so we can see indigenous peoples contributing to society in a positive and proud Canada, which we must see and realize is so important. We must be the parliamentarians who focus on the strengths of what we see in indigenous peoples.

Tragedy in SaskatchewanRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to request of my dear colleagues unanimous consent to allow the Green Party to put some words on the record about this dreadful tragedy.

Tragedy in SaskatchewanRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.

The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

(Motion agreed to)

Tragedy in SaskatchewanRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge that today, as on every day in this place, we stand on the territories of the Algonquin nation and want to express our gratitude to them. Meegwetch.

I also want to express gratitude to someone else. This may be somewhat unusual for starting this morning, but I cannot say another word without expressing my deep gratitude to the Conservative caucus for allowing me to speak.

I then extend my congratulations to the new leader of the official opposition. Not to complain, but some who pay close attention to this place may know that it has been since the 2021 election that Greens have been allowed to speak in moments of tribute and sadness. I am deeply grateful to the hon. member for Carleton for this change in policy. I appreciate it enormously.

I also want to say that we can all agree with every word that has been spoken. I want to thank the hon. member and Minister of Indigenous Services, the new leader of the official opposition, my friend from Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia for her words, and the hon. member for Nunavut. There is not one of us whose heart is not broken.

I thought about taking off my black ribbon of mourning for Her Majesty the Queen this morning, but then I thought that I am still in mourning. Yes, Her Majesty the Queen has departed this earth, but so have members of the James Smith Cree Nation. Ten people, much loved in their communities and much loved by their families, are no longer with us, and they died in horrific circumstances. I will leave my ribbon of mourning on, for today at least, for the James Smith Cree Nation, the families of the victims and the families of the perpetrators, all of whom are in a period of deep suffering.

There is much that has been said, and I will not trespass on the time for long, but I just want to say that there must be more than words. We speak words in this place of reconciliation, of a cry for justice and of a prayer for healing, and we say that we will do better. In this circumstance, what we must do is what I am so grateful to so many Canadians for, because in the words of so many members of James Smith Cree Nation, they express gratitude and almost surprise at how many Canadians are grieving with them. We grieve together. That is the very root of the word “compassion”, which is to suffer together. Compassion. We share it across indigenous and settler cultures. We grieve together, just as, in another horrific circumstance, we grieved with the people of Nova Scotia in Portapique.

We need to look to all the calls I have heard across the room today for inquiry and for consideration. What must we do better? James Smith Cree Nation is saying maybe it would be better off if it had indigenous police services. The chiefs in Manitoba are saying the same thing. They do not feel secure in a situation like this. They have the policing that is needed to protect people. We have Gloria and others, like Bonnie, who were first responders and raced into the scene. That circumstance of dying while protecting one's family should not occur. We should have the police services that are needed and at the ready, and local, in my view, may be a solution that is better, whether it is in Portapique or James Smith Cree Nation. We need to examine policing and we need to examine, as the hon. leader of the official opposition said, release procedures when people are dangerous and should not be released into our population.

I will not prescribe solutions at this point. We need to commit to listening, investigating and particularly supporting the people of James Smith Cree Nation and other places that are still wounded and suffering from events of violence.

We can do better. We must do better, and to everybody touched by the tragedy at James Smith Cree Nation, we send our prayers, our love and our words, and we also say clearly that we know words are not enough. We will do more. We will do better. We are with them and their dear children as they process things that no child should ever see and no family should ever experience. I thank members for their time. Meegwetch.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House.

If the House gives its consent, I move that the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be concurred in.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.

Hearing none, it is agreed.

The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.

(Motion agreed to)

Climate ChangePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:40 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from numerous constituents who are concerned about the climate emergency. They call on the government to reduce emissions to levels proposed by the international scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading global authority. They ask that Canada's emissions reduction target be increased to at least 60% below 2005 levels by 2030 and that Canada create good green jobs that include the workforce to ensure that effective workers and communities are protected in the transition away from fossil fuels. They ask that this transition be assisted through increasing taxes on the wealthiest and corporations, as well as financing through a national public bank.

Charitable OrganizationsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, I table a petition expressing concern that the Liberal Party of Canada promised in its 2021 platform to deny the charitable status of organizations that have different views. The signatories are concerned this could jeopardize the charitable status of hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other charitable organizations that do not agree with the Liberal Party for reasons of conscience. They are calling on the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis, without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values or the imposition of another values test, and to affirm the right of Canadians to freedom of expression.

Persons with DisabilitiesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, it is great to be back in the House with my colleagues. The petition I am tabling today is quite timely, given that the House is going to debate Bill C-22. The petition, which was started by Jeff Leggat, a constituent of mine in Duncan, refers to the fact that far too many Canadians with disabilities are living below the poverty line. There are about 1.5 million Canadians who are living in a state of legislated poverty. The petitioners who have taken the time to sign this e-petition are calling upon the government to end this current practice and ensure that Canadians living with disabilities have a federal disability benefit of $2,200 per month.

Charitable OrganizationsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, as always, it is an honour to be able to stand in this place. Today, I am presenting a petition to draw the attention of Canadians to the fact that the Liberals promised in their 2021 election platform to weaponize charitable status to discriminate against particular charities within Canada. The undersigned citizens of this petition call upon the House of Commons to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis, without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values or the imposition of another “values test”, and to affirm the rights of Canadians to freedom of expression.

It is an honour to present this petition in the House today.

Charitable OrganizationsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today and present a petition on behalf of Canadians across this country.

The petitioners are concerned about the possibility of the government imposing another values test on charitable organizations. The petitioners are asking that the government protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis without discrimination on the basis of political or religious values or the imposition of another “values test”, and that it affirm the right of Canadians to the freedom of expression.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, it is good to be back in this House after the summer recess.

I am rising to present two petitions. The first petition is in support of Senate Bill S-223, which seeks to combat the practice of forced organ harvesting, which is still going around the world. It is the practice of harvesting organs from healthy, living human beings without their consent, and the bill would combat this practice. The families of the victims of forced organ harvesting and trafficking have now waited almost 15 years for Canada to pass this legislation. It is time to end the delays, and the petitioners are calling on the House and on Parliament to now get this done.

Charitable OrganizationsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, my second petition calls attention to the fact that the current government, in its 2021 platform, proposes to deny charitable status to organizations that have deeply held, genuine convictions about protecting life in the womb.

The Liberal Party considers these views to be dishonest, and this may jeopardize the charitable status of hospitals, houses of worship, schools, homeless shelters and other charitable organizations that do not agree with the Liberal Party of Canada.

The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to do two things: to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis and to affirm the right of Canadians to freedom of expression.

Charitable OrganizationsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I am not sure if the word “dishonest” was in that petition, but I would just ask members to make sure they are reading what is in the petition.

Charitable OrganizationsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I am rising to present this petition on behalf of Canadians who feel that the Liberal Party of Canada promised in its 2021 platform to deny the charitable status of organizations that have convictions about abortion that the Liberal government views as dishonest. This jeopardizes the charitable status of hospitals, places of worship, schools, homeless shelters and so many charitable organizations that do incredible work in this country and would leave a huge void under these circumstances. Canadians depend upon and benefit from these charities.

The government had previously denied funding, tax dollars, to any organization that was not willing to check a box endorsing the political positions of the governing party. These petitioners believe that charities and non-profit organizations should not be discriminated against on the basis of their political views or religious values. They comment that all Canadians have a right to freedom of expression without discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.

The petitioners are calling on the government to protect and preserve the application of charitable status rules on a politically and ideologically neutral basis and to affirm the rights of Canadians to freedom of expression.